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Miami’s MLS future continues to hinge on downtown stadium deal

Jul 29, 2014, 10:35 AM EST

Beckham's plans for an MLS stadium in downtown Miami have so far been shelved. Beckham's plans for an MLS stadium in downtown Miami have so far been shelved.

During the LA Galaxy’s 3-0 win over Seattle on Monday night some interesting tidbits arrived at half time from ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas.

The former U.S. national team defender spilled the beans after a discussion he had with MLS Commissioner Don Garber about the ongoing situation in Miami with David Beckham’s Major League Soccer franchise limping towards a 2017 start date.

[RELATED: Becks’ Miami plans in limbo]

Having an MLS team playing in Downtown Miami, especially by 2017, seems a bit of a stretch at this point.

Lalas’ main piece of information was that Garber and the league are still insisting that any MLS franchise based in Miami should be housed in their own stadium downtown. That will not change and it has been the clear message from the league since the new team was announced back in February this year.

“MLS will not expand to Miami unless we have a downtown site for the stadium,” Lalas quotes Garber as saying.

Yet nearly six months since the franchise was awarded to Beckham and he chose to place it in Miami, his consortium, which includes his British business partner Simon Fuller and Bolivian Billionaire Marcelo Claure among others, has got no closer to nailing down a stadium deal in Miami. In fact, they are nowhere near.

That is worrying for the league, soccer in Miami and Beckham.

Several locations have been earmarked then crossed off by the City, politicians, local businesses and residents, as a deal on land next to the American Airlines center on the waterfront appears to be umm… dead in the water. Beckham’s stadium plans have offered several other alternatives which include creating more public space downtown but that only upset Carnival Cruises who see the planned stadium as blocking their own plans for expansion in the Port of Miami.

With other markets emerging as future MLS expansion cities all the time, Beckham and co. need to get a shift on to make Miami a possibility. If it doesn’t work out, then perhaps a move to Las Vegas, Sacramento, San Antonio or a whole host of other soccer mad cities in North America would make more sense. Building a stadium wouldn’t be this expensive or time-consuming in most other cities in the USA.

More than likely Garber’s message, distributed via Lalas, is intended to scare politicians in Miami into signing a stadium deal and make them worry about the millions of dollars they could be costing the local economy by failing to do so.

Let’s see if this latest piece of news on Miami has any impact whatsoever.

  1. geojock - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    I think he needs to publicly begin investing other cities. That is the only way he is going to get the folks in Miami to put out.

    • arrington1279 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      I don’t think much of anything will convince the city of Miami outside of an immediate and massive infusion of cash. The city was burned pretty badly by the Marlins and the Dolphins, but nobody in local government has the cajones to stand up to MLB or the NFL. The MLS, however, is still small enough in the public eye and risky enough of a venture (all anyone has to do, rightly or wrongly, is cite the city’s history in the league) that the city government can flex its muscles without a populist backlash.

  2. sthomas173 - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:27 PM

    I’m glad MLS has drawn a line here. Wish they’d done the same to NYCFC.

  3. footballer4ever - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    Miami suffers from Banana Republic politicians who were corrupted enough to build a baseball stadium noone cares or goes to, but for a football stadium which has plenty of football aficionados is a whole red tape to go thru. Even the dolphins of the American “football” version got affected by the Marlins park fiasco.

  4. granadafan - Jul 29, 2014 at 12:58 PM

    What the hell is Miami’s problem?

    • bdh75gunner - Jul 29, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      footballer4ever – Jul 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM
      Miami suffers from Banana Republic politicians who were corrupted enough to build a baseball stadium noone cares or goes to, but for a football stadium which has plenty of football aficionados is a whole red tape to go thru. Even the dolphins of the American “football” version got affected by the Marlins park fiasco.

      That is the problem. Marlins Park screwed everything.

  5. 8to80texansblog - Jul 29, 2014 at 3:31 PM

    It took Houston YEARS to get the downtown stadium deal to work.

  6. dudeareno81 - Jul 29, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    Charlotte sold 70k tickets to Liverpool v Milan this coming Saturday. That’s where mls should be looking.

  7. ryanw822 - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    MLS is better off not in Miami.

  8. ramblingalb - Jul 29, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    The MLS would be far stronger with Sacramento and San Antonio (or Mpls) than Miami and Chivas. They don’t need to beg anymore.

  9. sw19womble - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:19 AM

    Miami is the MLS version of LA for the NFL.

    Go build the league elsewhere until the good burghers of South Beach are falling over themselves for a franchise. Then tell them to pay through the nose or F.R.O.

    And if they’re _still_ not interested enough, then MLS saved itself from another embarrassing and damaging team folding or “going on a hiatus”.

    Don’t make the same mistake as Bettman in the NHL and try and force teams into areas just because you think they ought to work. Strong smaller markets (especially where you’re not competing with 2 or more of the big four) mean a good solid foundation.

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